Animals – When I Was Young

The Animals were nasty sounding…more than the Stones on some of their records at this time.

This is one of the songs that have been said as having pioneered grunge music. The song was written by Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, and Danny McCulloch.

This was in the middle of the psychedelic period…In 1966 the original Animals disbanded because of business mismanagement and were in debt. Eric carried on with  the newly named Eric Burdon & The Animals.  He left behind his Newcastle, hard-drinking ways behind, and became a spokesman for the counterculture in this period.

This song was released in 1967 and it peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100, #10 in Canada, and #45 in the UK.

Eric Burdon: “When I first wrote it I played it to George Harrison and his comment was ‘Great! You got to do more of this. You’ll know you’ll be able to sing this song when you are in your forties.’ Now I am in my 70s and I am still singing it.”

From Songfacts

“When I Was Young” was written by Eric Burdon and included on various Animals albums as well as being a single release.

Burdon’s composition marks an important turning point for the Animals: many of The Animals’ hits had been Brill Building productions, most notably the husband-and-wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, which was an effort by their producer Mickie Most to make this British Invasion band sound more American. Burdon found this too restricting, and the group moved to Decca Records by 1966. This was amongst their first hits after this move.

Cover versions of this song include versions by Golden Earring, Eddie Fisher, Tina Turner, and The Ramones. It’s also been featured in film soundtracks such as Doris Dorrie’s Manner….

When I Was Young

‘The rooms were so much colder then
My father was a soldier then
And times were very hard
When I was young

I smoked my first cigarette at ten
And for girls, I had a bad yen
And I had quite a ball
When I was young

When I was young, it was more important
Pain more painful
Laughter much louder
Yeah, when I was young
When I was young

I met my first love at thirteen
She was brown and I was pretty green
And I learned quite a lot when I was young
When I was young
When I was young

Pain more painful
Laughter much louder
Yeah, when I was young
When I was young

My faith was so much stronger then
I believed in fellow man
And I was so much older then
When I was young
When I was young
When I was young

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “Animals – When I Was Young”

  1. Eric Burdon sings, “She was brown and I was pretty green” and it made me think about his girlfriend Sylvia, but of course he met her much later. The eggman was a nickname given to Eric Burdon the Animals’ singer by John Lennon, because he had a raw egg paraphilia fetish. Burdon achieved this dubious distinction after he told Lennon about this wild time that he had with his Jamaican girlfriend Sylvia.

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      1. Burton said that he was up early one morning cooking breakfast, naked except for his socks, and she slid up beside him and slipped an amyl nitrate popper inhalant drug used to enhance sexual pleasure under his nose. As the fumes produced a sensation of excitement in his brain he slid to the kitchen floor, and she grabbed an egg which she cracked into the pit of his belly. The white and yellow of the egg ran down his naked front and Sylvia showed him one Jamaican trick after another.

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  2. Good song I vaguely remember hearing (when it was already an ‘oldie’), guess listening to it now it was an interesting mix of psychedelia and hard rock that was a precursor to some things that arrived in the ’90s.

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    1. I have heard it on a few movies I believe. I never thought of the grunge pioneer angle but after reading many say that…I do hear it.

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    1. Speaking of never hearing of something before…their next album would feature a future Police member on it…I didn’t know this until last night. Andy Summers was in the last version of the Animals in 1968.

      I’ve heard this song on movie a while back.

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      1. Oh no in the Animals…Did you mean War? Maybe I read it wrong but I thought you typed The Animals which was confusing to me.

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    1. I love those two songs…in the late seventies I had a single with one on each side I believe. This post was going to be Sky Pilot until I changed it at the last minute.

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  3. Your introductory admission is hilarious and I can see why you think of it when you hear this song! I remember stopping to pick up this hitchhiker and she said she had just been picked up and dropped back in this same place by a very good-looking guy and “No!” she didn’t want a ride anywhere with me – she would wait for that guy to return. She’s still standing there as far as I know.

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